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Saturday, May 12, 2007

 

Stormwater bills are public, after all

I have paid my storm water bill. Is it a tax? Well, I'm not sure. Many think it is and if it turns out it is, then we should vote on it. The city says no, but this article tells how a lien can be put on your house if the bill is not paid. Now, when I received my bill, I was suspicious. Here I am, paying my property taxes, when I get a bill out of nowhere. The bill says that if I do not pay the bill, the city will put a lien on my house. So, using the knowledge I did in class, I analyze the bill.

If I enter into a contract with a lender, such as my mortgage company, then they can use government's coercive force to enforce the contract. But what contract did I enter into with the city concerning storm water runoff? This is a classic case of governments coercive power. I agree with those who see this as a tax. In Colorado, we have to vote on new taxes- we didn't vote.

My next question is why didn't we vote on it. The city says it doesn't have the money to do the projects concerning storm water and runoff. My first question is why? Is this a new problem that has surfaced? Why hasn't the city been planing for this for years, why such the urgency. The answer, I believe, is the city does not know how to budget. Can the city really tell us this came as a surprise?

The city has not taken into account if there is any actual runoff form the property to the city drains. There is no mention in the bill I received to contest if I were saving any run off of rain. And another thing, what if there is a drought and there is no run off, then what are we being charged for. Probably the reason it was not introduced as a tax might be because there is not a efficient amount of run off. If this goes to the Colorado Supreme Court (if challenged), I would hope that they have a corrective state of mind in deciding the case.

I also think this issue will coincide with the issue before the state right now concerning the new education bill- many think it is a new tax, supporters (like the storm water bill) disagree. I suppose the courts will decide.

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